(West Shore RCMP)

Crews from Colwood, View Royal and Langford fire departments are battling a fire at Big O Tires in the West Shore late Tuesday afternoon, according to the City of Colwood.

The City of Colwood tweeted that crews were on scene at the business near 6 Mile Road at 3:49 p.m. and asked the public to avoid the area if possible.

Eyewitness photos and video from the scene show large plumes of black smoke emitting from the windows of Big O Tires.

Neighbouring businesses, including the Serious Coffee and National Car Rental, were evacuated.

In a phone call with Victoria Buzz Acting Fire Chief Rob Marshall of View Royal Fire Department said that the building is a “total loss.”

“The roof has caved in in portions,” said Marshall. “We were able to keep it out the admin areas, where computers and records were kept. But storage, service bays…the entire building was involved.”

Marshall said that the fire appears to have started when a fuel tank that was being removed from a vehicle on hoists was ignited by a spark.

One employee who was moving the fuel tank was sent to hospital for burns, but Marshall was unable to confirm the severity of their injuries.

Crews arrived shortly after 3:15 p.m. and were still working to fully extinguish hot spots in the building around 5:25 p.m.

No other businesses were damaged.

Marshall estimated that the Island Highway would be closed until 6:30 p.m. between Six Mile Road and Wale Road.

People seemed to have just been exiting the building of Big-O Tire in Colwood as we were passing by, my daughter was recording this.

Posted by Florence Johnny on Tuesday, September 8, 2020